Art Is a Spiritual Path

Pat B. Allen, Author . Shambhala $16.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-59030-210-1

Allen (Art Is a Way of Knowing ) offers a particular paradigm for making art, a model for meditation in action designed to help artists deepen their relationship with "the Creative Source" and to "become vessels for new wisdom." The paradigm's first step is to craft a specific intention to guide "how we manifest our thoughts, beliefs, and desires" during that art-making session. The next step is actually making the art through inquiry, engagement and celebration. The final step is that of "witness," in which the artist concludes the session by engaging in dialogue with the image and writing down the "deepest truth" the image is conveying. Allen provides frequent examples of these "witness dialogues," which read as actual q&a sessions between artists and their work. The rest of the book comprises specific examples of the transformative effect this approach has had on Allen and her students vis-à-vis specific issues, such as dealing with gender roles and inherited religious traditions. Although Allen outlines a detailed methodology for art as a spiritual path, the book is more a reflection on the benefits of the paradigm than a how-to primer. In fact, the writing—while insightful and often eloquent—can become discursive, at times leaving the reader at loose ends. This makes the book best suited for practicing artists or those making art in a studio setting with a teacher and guide. (Aug. 9)

Reviewed on: 05/16/2005
Release date: 08/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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